Friday, October 21, 2011

GDB #13

Oil Kings(12 7-3-1-1) vs Portland Winterhawks(11 6-4-1-0)

Game three of the Oil Kings four game homestand is tonight against the Portland Winterhawks.  The Oil Kings are 1-1 so far during the home stretch.  Edmonton is coming off a come from behind 2-1 win over the Moose Jaw Warriors on Wednesday night.  Griffen Reinhart accounted for both Edmonton goals, with bombs from the point.  It was billed as a a showdown between two of the 'Fab Five' of WHL defenders eligible for the upcoming NHL entry draft between Reinhart and fellow Vancouver product Morgan Reilly.

Tonight's matchup features another of the Fab Five in Portland's Derrick Pouliot.  The Hawks are coming off a bizarre 7-6 shootout win over Saskatoon in Portland Tuesday night.  They scored twice in the final ten minutes to tie the game before scoring on all three shootout attempts for the win.  Portland opens up a nine game Alberta/BC road trip here tonight at Rexall Place.  The Winterhawks boast a star-studded lineup of NHL drafted players including 2011 picks Joe Morrow, Ty Rattie, Sven Bartschi, and Tyler Wotherspoon. They are without Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Johansen who are still with their NHL clubs.

Players to watch:
Edmonton: Mark Pysyk.  The captain of the Kings and Buffalo Sabre first round pick has elevated his game recently in the young season.  He is still looking for his first goal of the year, sitting on five assists, but has taken charge offensively jumping into the play regularly.  Pysyk was involved in his first scrap of the year last game with Jordan Wyton of the Warriors.  The Oil Kings will need him and partner Keegan Lowe to have a solid effort defensively against some of Portland's high octane scorers.

Portland:  Joe Morrow. Like Pysyk, Morrow is a Sherwood Park product and a 23rd overall pick in the NHL entry draft.  Morrow had a fantastic camp with the Pittsburgh Penguins and, according to reporters in Pennsylvania, was very close to cracking the opening day lineup.  Morrow has six points in six games this season and possibly plays his last WHL game in Rexall Place tonight.  Morrow and Pysyk could suit up as teammates for Team Canada this winter at the World Junior Championships held in Edmonton and Calgary.

Last Year:  The Winterhawks took the lone matchup last season between the two clubs.  It was a tight affair at the Coliseum in Oregon, the Hawks built up a 3-0 lead before the Kings rallied to close the gap to one.  The Hawks iced it with a pair of empty netters to win 5-2.  Portland won 50 games last season and finished first in the WHL's Western Conference.  They played all the way to the league final, where they were eliminated by the Kootenay Ice in five games.

Goals- EDM- TJ Foster, Martin Gernat, Stephane Legault (5)
POR- Ty Rattie (9)

Points- EDM- Gernat (15)
POR- Brad Ross (18)


Drafted: EDM- Mark Pysyk-Buffalo Sabres (1st Round, 2010), Kristians Pelss- Edmonton Oilers (7th, 2010), Keegan Lowe- Carolina Hurricanes (3rd, 2011), Travis Ewanyk- Oilers (3rd, 2011), Michael St. Croix- New York Rangers (4th, 2011), Martin Gernat- Oilers (5th, 2011), Laurent Brossoit- Calgary Flames (6th, 2011)

POR- William Wrenn- San Jose Sharks (2nd, 2009), Ryan Johansen- Columbus Blue Jackets (1st, 2010), Nino Niederreiter- New York Islanders (1st, 2010), Brad Ross- Toronto Maple Leafs (2nd, 2010), Troy Rutkowski- Colorado Avalanche (5th, 2010), Mac Carruth- Chicago Blackhawks (7th, 2010), Sven Bartschi- Flames (1st, 2011), Joe Morrow- Pittsburgh Penguins (1st, 2011), Ty Rattie- St. Louis Blues (2nd, 2011), Tyler Wotherspoon- Flames (2nd, 2011).

Notes:  Oil Kings defenceman Martin Gernat is tied in 9th in WHL scoring with 15 points.  He is the overall leader in rookie and defenceman scoring.  Winterhawks forward Brad Ross is tied for fifth in scoring with 18 points, Ty Rattie and Sven Bartschi are tied for 6th with 17 points.  For Edmonton Michael St. Croix and TJ Foster are riding five game point streaks.  The Winterhawks feature eight US born players on their roster.  Nino Niederreiter has yet to suit up with the Islanders after suffering a groin injury in camp.  Ryan Johansen has gone pointless in three games for the Blue Jackets this season.